-- What is it?
sounds incredible, yet it's really true! Back in 1891,
James Bertley, a British whale harpooner, fell overboard
near the Falkland Islands and was swallowed by a wounded
sperm whale. Several hours later the whale was captured
and Bertley was rescued out of its stomach--alive, but
out of his mind for a few days. Twenty seven hundred
years prior to Bertley's experience, another man was
swallowed by a gigantic whale in the Mediterranean Sea.
Far surpassing Bertley's ordeal, this man survived for
three days in the fish's belly! Finally in desperation
he cried out, "Salvation is of the Lord. And
the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah
upon the dry land" (Jonah 2:9,10).
Jonah uttered on that occasion is good theology indeed,
and he learned it in a strange school--a whale's belly,
with weeds wrapped around his head. I don't know if that
word "SALVATION" impresses you, but it
certainly conveys a lot to me. The word simply means, "Deliverance,
Safety, Preservation." It carries the thought
of being rescued from a coming catastrophe and brought
into a secure and blessed position--and notice, the Lord
is the only One who can accomplish this.
is born of a fallen race, condemned because of
his participation in Adam's sin, doomed because
of the fact that he has only a fallen nature, judged
as one who is under the dominion and power of sin, and guilty
before God because of his personal sins (Rom. 3:9-23;
5:12). Consequently he is "dead in trespasses and
sins," a child of disobedience, by nature a child
of wrath, having no hope, and without God in the world.
This is the Almighty's appraisal of him (Eph. 2:1-3,12).
Unless he obtains God's salvation during his lifetime,
he will experience everlasting punishment in the lake
that burns with fire and brimstone. Cowards deny and
scoffers laugh at this truth, but that doesn't change
the fact, the reality, one iota. The Holy Bible is
mercilessly clear on the subject of eternal damnation
and punishment of the lost. A careful reading of Luke
16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15 and the Lord's own words
in Matthew 24:41,46 and Mark 9:43-48, will prove this.
problem of guilt and sin is so great that he cannot cope
with it himself. In no way can he forgive his own sin,
impart eternal life to himself, clothe himself with the
righteousness of God, or write his name in heaven. God
says man is hopelessly "dead" to accomplish
anything to better himself spiritually. In view of such
a dark picture, man needs deliverance, safety, and
preservation. In other words--he needs God's salvation!
Since salvation belongs to God alone, He alone can
bestow it. Thank God, it is available to all, for God
desires all men to be saved (I Tim. 2:4).
efforts can never purchase salvation. However, God
offers it freely, for it has been purchased by the Son
of God. This involved leaving the Father's house in
heaven, coming to earth to be born of a virgin--then in
perfect manhood, offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin
at Calvary. "Christ died for the ungodly"
(Rom. 5:6). "Christ died for our sins" (I Cor.
15:3). "Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). He
"put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"
(Heb. 9:26), thus satisfying all God's righteous claims
against us! Through His death "He became the Author
of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9). The Church does
not hold this salvation and dispense it at its whim. Oh
no! God righteously would never stand for that! Only God
can impart salvation to the lost and perishing--and what
a great salvation it is! It provides a dismissal of
every charge against the sinner and equips him with
eternal life in place of death--with the perfect merit
of Christ in place of condemnation-- and with
forgiveness and justification in place of wrath! Through
the death of Christ, all judgment is so perfectly borne
that it can never again be reckoned against the
believer. "There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).
obtaining of salvation is simple! God says to you, "For
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest
any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9)
"Grace" means, that in spite of our being so
undeserving of salvation, God's unmerited favor bestows
it upon us. "Through faith" indicates
that faith is the channel, or instrument, through which
salvation comes to us. "Not of yourselves"
shows it is not our action that saves us. "The
gift of God" simply means that God freely
offers His salvation as a gift. You cannot work or pay
for a gift, for if you do, it automatically ceases to be
a gift. God's gift is received free from the Giver. The
moment Zacchaeus received Christ the Lord said to him,
"This day is salvation come to this house"
(Lk. 19:9). Good living, good deeds, and religious
observances are all activities that many are depending
on for salvation. But God exposes and denounces these by
saying, "Not of works, lest any man should
you are relying on your own efforts to gain heaven,
forsake such thoughts, and like Zacchaeus, simply
receive the Saviour. If you do, this day salvation will
come from God to you! "Behold, now is the
accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation"
(II Cor. 6:2). Do not delay, for "how shall we
escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb.
Written by: Robert
E. Surgenor (Evangelist)
Published in tract form by: The Gospel Messenger,
4527 West 226th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44126